In response to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council’s request, the ISRP reviewed the Yakama Nation’s Klickitat River Spring Chinook Master Plan (2018 Master Plan) for project #1988-115-35, Klickitat River Design and Construction-Yakima/Klickitat Fisheries Project (YKFP). This Step review is a follow-up to the ISRP’s Step Two Response Review of the Yakama Nation’s Klickitat River Anadromous Fisheries Master Plan (ISRP 2013-1). The current 2018 Master Plan focuses on spring Chinook production, which differs from earlier master plan drafts (2004, 2008, 2012) that proposed multispecies hatchery reform initiatives for fall Chinook, coho, and steelhead, as well as spring Chinook.
The ISRP reviewed the 2018 Master Plan and requests a response. The ISRP found that the 2018 Master Plan for an integrated hatchery program to rebuild the Klickitat spring Chinook salmon population is well conceived and presented. The rationale for shifting from the current segregated hatchery program to an integrated program is well justified. Four phases are carefully defined and each phase has explicit quantitative objectives for natural production and harvest. However, to complete this portion of the Step Review, the ISRP requests a detailed response to five items, which are largely repeated from the ISRP’s 2013 review:
- Describe an adaptive management process with “decision tree” contingency planning. Although the Master Plan includes appropriate quantitative and time-specific objectives for the Program’s overall natural production and harvest goals, more detailed performance standards are needed for the Program’s in-hatchery operations.
- Identify performance standards for early maturation of males (i.e., acceptable proportions of “minijacks”), describe procedures for evaluating the proportion of minijacks, and discuss actions that will be taken if the performance standards are not being achieved. Historically, the Klickitat Hatchery has produced a high proportion of minijacks (about 0.75), and it seems this level must be reduced significantly to achieve program objectives.
- Reexamine their analyses of natural and hatchery origin spawner targets (pHOS, pNOB, and PNI).
- Consider further how annual variability in survival (SARs) might affect Program outcomes.
- Address specific questions regarding habitat capacity above Castile Falls, smolt release locations, broodstock collection protocols, in-hatchery operations, genetic changes, and abundance and survival estimates of spring Chinook smolts.